Every summer for the past few years, I’ve found that my business tends to slow down in the summer months. I’m not the sort of person who takes well to sitting idle, so I’ve taken to giving myself ‘summer challenges’ to keep myself busy, to keep the creative juices flowing, to keep my skills from atrophying, and to take the opportunity to try out different styles that I normally don’t get called upon to use in my day to day assignments. On March 28 of this year, I set myself a goal of drawing a portrait of each and every one of my ‘facebook friends’ in a variety of styles. I kept the size consistent (4×6), and kept myself to ‘one a day’ so I wouldn’t get bogged down in overworking them. I also told myself that I would not ‘self edit’ myself, look back, or otherwise ‘redo’ illustrations that I wasn’t happy with (but I broke this rule, near the end). It took me 218 days to complete 201 portraits (not bad, considering I had to take some time off to care for my ailing father), and for the most part I’m fairly happy with how many of them turned out. I’ve stumbled upon a couple new styles that I may incorporate into my catalog, and gotten lots of practice with faces. I probably used specific photo reference for about 95% of the illustrations, and from time to time worked in a caricature style where several photos were used as a rough guide. Sometimes a particular ‘friend’ did not include a picture of themselves on their ‘facebook page’, so I did the best I could using whatever they had on their site that approximated a ‘face’. (you can click on the image above to see a larger ‘composite’)
At one time I had a comprehensive collection of all the portraits posted to a single site, but the link has gone dead, but if you wish to peruse a collection of some of the ‘best’ of the series, you can find a link in the menu bar above.
The last few portraits I finished up on October 31st, and they are as follows (and are pictured below): #201 Tracey (a friend from back in the days of our monthly ‘living room jams’, who doesn’t have a photo of themselves on their page, just this picture of a dog); and then I redid a few of the portraits from earlier this summer that I was unhappy with; #62 My cousin Amy; and #71 Peggy, a high school classmate.